Masai Mara safari in a hot air balloon

The Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya offers good safaris all year. Most especially during the annual wildebeest migration from July to October.

The park is named after the Mara River which divides the park and the local Maasai people. They have a fascinating culture that centers around their cattle. In 1984 the size of the Reserve was reduced to accommodate the Maasai’s cattle grazing on their ancestral lands. Many private conservancies exist around the Masai Mara to protect the critical part of the route used by wildebeests and zebras during the Great Migration.

The Masai Mara National Reserve is approximately 1 510km² and 275km from Nairobi. Flights are available daily from Nairobi Wilson Airport and there are several airstrips in the Greater Masai Mara National Park.

The Mara is one of the best game reserves for predators. It is mainly open savannas so this makes the wildlife easier to see. Spotting at least 4 of the Big 5 is almost guaranteed. However; the Black Rhino is a little more elusive (there is no White Rhino here).

Masai Mara safari
Cheetah with Zebra at Angama Mara

Best time to visit the Masai Mara

The best time to visit is between July and October for the Annual Great Migration. With September and October probably being the ultimate. Visitors witness about 2 million herbivores (particularly Wildebeests, Zebra, and Gazelles) passing through this area. They are escaping from the dryer conditions in the Serengeti in Tanzania. It is an amazing sight to see. With lines of wildlife stretching as far as the eye can see across the Masai Mara plains. Although the migration pattern is well-known; the timing is dependent on the rains.

Following close behind the wildebeest and other herbivores are the predators therefore game-viewing of all types is at its best. Predators include the black-maned lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, and vultures.

Lion catching wildebeest in Masai Mara at Mara Plains
Lion catching wildebeest in Masai Mara at Mara Plains

As they cross the Mara River to reach the greener pastures of the Masai Mara, many fall prey to crocodiles and occasionally hippos. It is amazing to watch the wildebeest & zebras congregating at the river bank. Waiting for the bravest to make the first move to cross the river. While the ones that have already crossed; are calling from the other side, urging them on.

Other wildlife found in the Masai Mara National Reserve are elephants, impala, giraffe, antelope, jackal, baboons, ostriches; to name a few. Birdlife is abundant including over 53 different types of birds of prey, kestrels, hornbills, shrikes, sunbirds, and herons.

Grey Crowned Crane - Angama Mara
Grey Crowned Crane

Due to the huge attraction of witnessing the migration; it does mean the Reserve is very busy at this time. Whereas November until May is less crowded and still offers excellent safaris.

Masai Mara safari

Game drives offered in the main Reserve are excellent but sometimes crowded. Off-road driving is not allowed.
The neighboring conservancies are able to offer activities that are not allowed in the reserve. Such as off-road driving, night game drives, bush walks, and horse riding safaris. The biggest draw card to staying in the conservancies is that they have very few vehicles. Therefore, sightings are more exclusive / uncrowded.

Best Africa Safari
Incredible wildlife safari at Cottars

Hot Air Balloon safaris allow you to see the landscape and wildlife interactions from above. A sensational activity to include in your Masai Mara tour.

Masai Mara Accommodation
Governors' Camp

Governors’ Camp (Masai Mara)

Governors’ Camp is perfect for couples, families and friends wanting to experience the best of what a safari in the Masai Mara has to offer

Masai Mara safari

Governors’ Il Moran (Masai Mara)

Governors’ Il Moran Camp is the ideal camp for honeymooners looking for a very special safari experience, or even families with older children 

Mara Intrepids (Masai Mara)

Mara Intrepids Camp offers luxury tented accommodation in the heart of the Masai Mara, Kenya. A kids club makes it a great choice for family safaris

Little Governors' Camp

Little Governors’ Camp (Masai Mara)

Little Governors’ Camp, offers luxury accommodation in en-suite tents around a large watering hole with birds and wildlife in the Masai Mara

Sand River Masai Mara

Sand River Masai Mara

The luxury Sand River Camp is on the wildebeest migration route which adds to an already abundant wildlife in the northern Masai Mara

Mara Explorers Camp

Mara Explorer Camp (Masai Mara)

Mara Explorer is an eco-friendly 5* camp on the edge of the Talek River in the very heart of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Mahali Mzuri Richard Branson Kenya

Mahali Mzuri (Masai Mara)

Mahali Mzuri is Sir Richard Branson’s luxury tented safari camp in the Masai Mara. See the annual wildebeest migration or year-round wildlife

Angama Masai Mara

Angama (Masai Mara)

Angama Mara is on the edge of an escarpment, with views that stretch as far as the eye can see across the Maasai Mara in Kenya

Sanctuary Olonana, Masai Mara

Sanctuary Olonana (Masai Mara)

Sanctuary Olonana is an award-winning luxury camp on the Mara River, Masai Mara. Ideal for families and honeymooners. Rates and Specials

Cottar's Safari

Cottar’s Safari (Masai Mara)

The award-winning Cottar’s Safari Camps are situated in the private conservancy, bordering Maasai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti, Tanzania – rates and offers

Masai Mara safari

andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Camp (Masai Mara)

Breathtaking locations and an atmosphere of classic safari await guests at andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Camp in the Masai Mara, Kenya

andBeyond Bateleur Camp

andBeyond Bateleur Camp (Masai Mara)

andBeyond Bateleur Camp is an intimate and luxury safari camp in the Masai Mara, Kenya. Excellent wildlife safaris and wildebeest migration

Elephant Pepper Camp romantic dining

Elephant Pepper Camp (Masai Mara)

Elephant Pepper Camp (Mara North Conservancy) is the perfect base from which to escape the crowds and explore the wonders of the Masai Mara